Our vehicles are usually the second most expensive thing we own, right after our house. How do we know if the technicians working on our vehicle are qualified? Look for a Blue Seal with the words “ASE Certified” on the shop signage or business card. ASE stands for Automotive Service Excellence and is currently the only organization that tests for competency of Automotive Technicians. ASE was formed in the early 70’s by automotive industry leaders as a means for consumers to know how to identify competent technicians.
There are several testing areas including Automotive, Heavy and Medium Duty Truck, School Bus, Collision, and more. In the Automotive area, there are eight categories of competency. They are engine repair, automatic transmission/transaxle, manual drive train and axles, suspension and steering, brakes, electrical/electronic systems, heating and air conditioning, and engine performance. Many technicians have a few of these eight categories. If you pass all eight you are considered a Master Technician. Additionally, in the early 1990’s, due to the increasing complexity of emissions and computer controlled systems, an Advanced Engine Performance category was added and is referred to as L1 certification.
Does this mean a person without the certifications is incapable of repairing your car? Certainly not. I personally delayed getting my certifications due to the fact that I was supporting a young family and could not afford the cost of taking the tests. This was solved when I went to work for a shop that would cover the cost of the tests that I passed. A good shop today is willing to do this for their employees as a benefit. It proves to customers that the shop cares about quality and wants to hire only competent technicians.
Aha! But don’t cars change and become more complex over time? This is true and is the reason why the certifications lapse in five years. The actual tests are revised to cover newer technology and so evolve with the vehicles. All technicians must recertify every five years to maintain their standing.
The bottom line is look for the Blue Seal! Bron’s Automotive is committed to hiring ASE certified Technicians and has been repairing and servicing vehicles in Olympia, Tumwater, Lacey, and Thurston County for over ten years. I’ve personally been an ASE certified master since 1987 and L1 certified since 1994 and so am a big believer in proving what you know!